Cast a different shadow

PLEASE permit me to cast a different shadow from the sunny news of a proposed extension to the Sovereign Centre. Nick Cooke, whose business is managing

PLEASE permit me to cast a different shadow from the sunny news of a proposed extension to the Sovereign Centre. Nick Cooke, whose business is managing shopping centres, tells us we 'deserve' another string of clothes shops (that is all he quoted); but, because the area we use for eating and drinking our own refreshments will be concreted over he also promises us some more bars and restaurants so that we can buy their food and drink. If the Odeon cinema cannot cope with current vast queues of cinema-goers then, OK, a multiplex cinema appears too! And still a lovely open space will remain?People will not travel miles for this average hotchpotch of clothiers and a frothy coffee on a plastic seat, and if they do where will they park after the council's 'Development Plan' is acted upon? What of the Dolphin Square metropolis? Weston people travel to other towns to shop as a treat, and people come to Weston because it is a resort and not Cribbs Causeway! It is shopping the unstressed, easy way - not the 'beehive' way. The sea, tea with a view and somewhere you can still smell the breeze.Phoenix Life Ltd think we 'deserve' more shops? They wouldn't simply want higher density retail 'square metre' returns would they? We will get a half-empty monstrosity, but with the advantage of a continual kaleidoscope of 'closing down' sales, and a further loss of identity and dignity. This all smells of Henry Bootesque. All we and the tourists wanted was a covered pool and somewhere for the tourists' coaches to pull up so they could spend their money. The town centre needs enhancing, not replacing. The council's unused potential of Meadow Street and the Orchards area is professionally neglected and the fiasco of Big Lamp Corner might be almost humorous. For God's sake start thinking realistically and actually do something intelligent that we want. This town can never be all things to all people - but it would be nice if it was the home town to its people that it once was. As it is Weston is a dented lucky-dip barrel of unqualified dreamers for exploitative developers to choose and then strip our resort heritage away like piranha before swimming on to the next gullible victim council and its unprotected citizens.P HUNTER - Trewartha Park, Weston


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